Another One Bites the Dust…

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…with apologies to the late Freddie Mercury and Queen.

Kodak announced last week that it was stopping production of yet another film stock. This time it is BW400CN, a black and white chromogenic film. It is designed to be developed in C-41 color chemistry and prints are made on traditional color negative paper. With fewer and fewer people shooting film these days, in conjunction with Kodak’s mismanagement into bankruptcy, I feel that we may not be that far away from Kodak leaving the film industry altogether. Only recently was it announced that they all continue with motion picture film after receiving pressure from Hollywood to do so. 

Below is the notice from Kodak:

— DISCONTINUATION NOTICE —
August 14, 2014

Due to a steady decline in sales and customer usage, Kodak Alaris is discontinuing KODAK PROFESSIONAL BW400CN Film. Product should continue to be available in the market for up to six months, depending on demand.

We empathize with the Pro photographers and consumers who use and love this film, but given the significant minimum order quantity necessary to coat more product combined with the very small customer demand, it is a decision we have to make.

Here is a link to the Kodak page for BW400CN: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/films/bw400cn/main2.jhtml

Once the supply is gone, those that prefer shooting with chromogenic film will be happy to know that Ilford has XP-2 still in production (at least for now). A look at B&H shows it is available in 35mm and 120, as well as 100′ bulk rolls and a B&H kit of fifty rolls of thirty-six exposure 35mm film. 

I would have to say that my favorite film of all time was and still is Kodak Ektachrome Vivid Saturation (E100VS), follow closely by Ektachrome Plus Professional (EPP). When it’s demise was announced, I bought out the supply of Ektachrome at Calumet Photo in San Francisco on three different occasions (before Calumet went out of business) getting 35mm, 120, and 4×5. I still have a good supply in the fridge and only take it out for very special shoots. It’s going to be a very sad day when there are no more yellow and blue boxes waiting for me in their chilled resting place.

Below is one of my favorite shots I’ve taken with E100VS:

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

Camera: Yashica Mat-124G
Lens: Yashinon 80mm f/3.5
Exposure: 30 Sec @ f/22
Film: Kodak E100VS
Tripod: Benro A-169 w/B-0 Ballhead
Scanner: Epson V750-M Pro

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Woofstock 2013 and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones

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The 5th annual Marin Humane Society fundraiser Woofstock 2013 was a huge success with the largest turnout yet. Not only did a record number of people enjoy the wonderful entertainment and food, thirty-seven animals found forever homes during the adoption fee waived event. A kids area, including a Blue bounce house, kept the little ones entertained, while music from The Sorentinos and Rudy Colombini and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones kept everyone entertained. While a previous commitment earlier in the day kept me from seeing The Sorentinos, I was there in plenty of time to catch Rudy and the rest of the band in one of the best tributes to Mick Jagger and the real Rolling Stones.

Outdoor photography can pose some minor trouble with regards to shadows and lighting. These troubles can easily be overcome by the use of a fill flash. In a fluid shooting situation, I usually use a camera mounted Speedlite with a setting of EV -1. This will put out the proper amount of light to fill in the shadows and bring out the details with a natural look to the image. However, this lighting on the particular afternoon proved to be a bit more complex than most typical outdoor shooting. The stage had a couple of large trees beside it that resulted in part of the stage being in total shadows, part of the stage still being in the sun, and part of the stage covered with sunlight filtering through the trees. Throw in the fact that to get shots from certain angles I was more than 100 feet from the state, I was constantly checking my settings to get the best shot possible. At times I even skipped the flash and went solely with available lighting.

Being a significant distance from the subject will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the flash, to where at times I would push the flash to EV +2. Upping the ISO setting will also allow the light from the flash to be more effective. Just keep in mind that if you are shooing in Aperture Priority (as I was), this can push the shutter speed above the normal flash sync speed. So, be certain to set your camera to ‘High Speed Sync’ to keep from having troubles. Shooting in ‘Aperture Priority’ keeps the aperture where I set it, usually wide open or within a stop or so of being wide open. This allows me to separate the subject from the foreground and background by throwing those two out of focus while keeping the subject in focus.

If you have never used a flash outdoors, you should give it a try. Grab your camera, a speedlite, and your favorite model to shoot and head out. I would recommend starting with the following settings: Camera metering to ETTL, use high speed sync (if needed), , flash set to EV -1, aperture priority with lens f/stop set to widest possible (smallest number). Try shooting with sun at different angles to the subject, front lit, back lit, and side lit to see what the different results look light. Mix it up a bit by shooting both in the midday sun and also at either in the morning or evening with the sun close to the horizon. And, don’t forget to shoot with the subject in the shade with the background in the sunlight.

I hope you enjoy my shots from Woofstock 2013. Check with your local Humane Society office to see when their next event will be and don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets!

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For more information about the Marin Humane Society and Woofstock 2013, please click on the link below.

http://www.marinhumanesociety.org/site/c.aiIOI3NLKgKYF/b.7882565/k.F99E/Woofstock.htm

For more information about Rudy Colombini and The Unauthorized Rolling Stones, please click on the following link.

http://theunauthorizedrollingstones.us/

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. Don’t forget to hit the ‘Follow’ button to be notified of future blog posts.

The 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco

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I’m not going to go into great detail about the drama that was the America’s Cup in San Francisco last week, as it has been covered quite well in the media. What I am going to do is share with you some of the shots that I got during the last eight days of racing between Emirates Team New Zealand and defending champion, Oracle Team USA. I’ve also included a few of the images that I took during the America’s Cup World Series races on San Francisco Bay in 2012. The first four shots are of the smaller AC45 boats used during the ACWS races and the rest is the AC72 catamarans of ETNZ and OTUSA as they battle on San Francisco Bay for the Auld Mug.

I used both a Canon 40D and a Canon 6D to take the shots, along with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L lens – most of the time coupled with a Canon 1.4x Extender.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageI’ve already seen in the local news that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has said that he is looking forward to the next America’s Cup and is obviously hoping that Larry Ellison will again pick San Francisco as the venue for the 35th America’s Cup. I hope he does as well, as I’ll be there with camera in hand to get more fabulous shots to share with you.

Up Next – Shots from America’s Cup in San Francisco Bay

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Today will be day six out of the past seven that I’ve been along the waterfront in San Francisco photographing the America’s Cup racing. When I first went in last Tuesday, I was fulling expecting Team New Zealand to clinch that day. However, Mother Nature has had different plans and yesterday was the only day that two races were actually completed. I’ll be back there this afternoon, as Team New Zealand needs just one win to complete their victory over Team USA.

I’ll be posting the best shots that I get once one of the two teams capture the Cup.

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Kudos to Me No.2

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So, a couple of weeks ago I posted that I had one of my photos selected by KEH Camera as one of their pictures of the month. Well, this week I had a photograph picked by the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau as their photograph of the week. You can see their posting of it by clicking on the link below:

http://www.seemonterey.com/blog/post/2013/12/Flickr-Photo-of-the-Week/5450/

The shot is of a dilapidated section of Cannery Row in Monterey. I used my Canon 6D with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0L lens to take the photograph. It was taken about fifteen minutes after sunset and I did the black and white conversion in Photoshop CS4.

Thank you to the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Kudos to Me

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I’m not usually one to blow my own horn, except when I’ve got my saxophone in my hands. However, I will make an exception this time around. One of the ways that I put my photography out to the universe is with Flickr. One of the companies that I have purchased gear from is KEH Camera. It just so happens to be that KEH is on Flickr as well and has their own Flickr group, of which I belong. Once a month, KEH posts the top photographs submitted to their group on their blog. About a week or so ago, one of my shots of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park was at the top of the list for their August picks. Click on the link below to see the post on their blog:

http://www.kehblog.com/2013/08/photos-of-month.html

Thank you to KEH!

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Camera Porn – Sneak Peek

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Camera Porn - Kodak DuaflexI proudly present my latest acquisition, a Kodak Duaflex camera with the Kodet lens. While this camera is more than 60 years old, you would never know, as it is in fabulous condition. It takes 620 film, which is basically 120 film, but on a different spool. While 620 is no longer produced, it is available as 120 that has been put on proper spools, or 120 with modified spools. While I don’t foresee ever shooting any weddings with it, I am looking forward to seeing what it is capable of. I’ve ordered a couple of rolls of Ektachrome and when I get the film developed and scanned, I’ll be posting a full review of this little gem.

Tatiana and Raymond’s Wedding at Pigeon Point State Park

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This past weekend I had the utmost pleasure to photograph the wedding of Tatiana and Raymond at the Pigeon Point State Park. Except for a bit of wind, the weather was fabulous with clear skies and temps in the 70’s.

If you are unfamiliar with Pigeon Point, it is one of the most beautiful locations along the San Mateo County coast. The lighthouse located there is 115 feet high and along with the Point Arena Lighthouse is the tallest on the west coast. It was first illuminated in 1871 and one Saturday evening each November, the lamp for the old Fresnel lens is once again illuminated and it is a spectacular sight to see. Click here to see what that looks like and for more information about the lighthouse. The lighthouse is undergoing a major renovation and the annual lighting has not occurred since 2010, with the anticipation that the next lighting will be in 2013.

San Francisco City Hall Wedding

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If you are anywhere in or near Northern California (or planning a visit) and are looking for a beautiful location for a civil ceremony wedding, San Francisco City Hall could be just the place that you are looking for. Below are some of the shots that I captured photographing a wedding there recently.